imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

WOW! You have a very precise method for calculating when potatoes are ready. I use a much less sophisticated method. Sweet potatoes are supposed to be ready 130-170 days after planting. I mark 150 days on my garden calendar to check them, and I put a label in the pot with the planting date and expected date of maturity. As it turns out everything here takes a lot longer then what is expected. I dig into the container and feel the size of the potatoes. If they seem about right I pull them up. Since we don't get a winter here, the vines will not die down, so that is not a reliable sign. Sweet potatoes can be invasive, so it works better to keep them in large containers. It also makes it easier to harvest since I have hard clay soil. Thankfully, I don't have to move the containers much.
If I plant the right varieties, I can also eat the leaves :roll:

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TheWaterbug
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Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 5:15 pm
Location: Los Angeles

TheWaterbug wrote:So I'm psyched up to eat these tonight. If they're good I'll dig up a bunch more tomorrow.
Well, they were terrible. After I put them in the oven, I read up on these guys, and evidently they don't really get sweet until they've sat for a month or two.

But I also wanted to clear out the space, so I dug up the whole patch. And got maybe 15 lbs. of sweet potatoes. :roll:

Some of the plants had nothing at all, others had tubers too small to eat, and a handful of plants had 2-3 good-sized 'taters. But nearly all of them were heavily split.

I've got them sitting in a storage room; I'll try eating a few in a month or so to see if they've improved.

So clearly I'm doing something massively wrong, since sweet potatoes are supposed to be easy to grow!! I think my soil prep was OK, because the soil will still really loose when I harvested. I may not have watered enough during the hottest part of late summer.

I'm going to try again this year, and I'll from a different slip vendor so I can start earlier.

imafan26
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Posts: 11907
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

I'm sorry to hear that. I don't know what varieties you grew. I only grow the ones that do well in Hawaii and that I like. Sweet potatoes don't need a whole lot of water but they will dry out if they don't get enough. The soil cannot be too hard or the potatoes will not be uniform and not so easy to dig out. Drought stressed potatoes go deeper. Here it is kind of moot. It rains nearly every day for a short time and the humidity is high so the soil is warm and does not readily dry out. Sweet potatoes are wild and that's why I contain them in a pot, they take over. The sweet potato that is the most popular for eating here is actually pretty dry. It is called Okinawan sweet potato. The flesh is purple, firm, and on the dry side. Yams are actually sweet potaotoes that are softer, sweeter, and more moist than hard sweet potatoes. Maybe you did not really do anything wrong. Try planting a soft sweet potato variety. They would be called yams in the U.S. like Garnet or Jewel. True yams are not sweet they are starchy and are planted by tubers. Sweet potatoes are sweet but the flesh can be hard (dry) or soft and moist depending on the variety you select
Root splitting and oversized roots are usually a sign that they have been in the ground too long.

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Gary350
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Try a few different types of sweet potatoes next year. Try some experements too, till in some organic material then plant potatoes there and see what happens. You also need 12 hours of full sun. The potato crop is directly related to how much full sun it gets.

I was reading online once about different types of potatoes. As I recall there are about 200 different type of potatoes. Some potatoe grow best in cool weather while others do better in hotter weather. In TN I could never grow white Idaho or Russet potatoes larger than a golf ball. Red pontiac potatoes did much better they like hotter weather. Sweet potatoes from the grocery store did great in my garden as long as they got full sun. The new house we moved to in 1991 had no trees in the new subdivision so every thing in the garden did great but 20 years later when trees were 35 ft tall and made lots of shade it was very hard for me to get good sweep potatoes. I moved to a different house for 2 years with 3/4 acre of land the sweep potatoes loved it there full sun all day until 7 pm.



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